Craig Harris’ tome from this morning reminds me of the scene from A River Runs Through It, where the Presbyterian Minister played by Tom Skerritt is editing his young son’s writing. The erstwhile son continues to bring piece after piece to his erudite and taciturn Scottish father, and the father says time after time, “again, half as long.”
So it is with Mr. Harris’ piece this morning, and here is my edited version:
Attorney General Tom Horne declared a conflict of interest in prosecuting two well known Republican political operatives with ties to the Fiesta Bowl scandal. Horne declared this conflict because both of the individuals were involved in his re-election campaign. The case was then turned over to Maricopa County Bill Montgomery who declined to prosecute the misdemeanor charges because of the vagueness and uncertainty in the underlying statute.
The two lobbyists when contacted by the Republic indicated they had fully complied with the underlying statute, which requires the “designated lobbyists” to report all expenditure on behalf of the client which they both share. Both lobbyists indicated that had they separately filed, it would result in a doubling of the single expenditure.
When contacted by the Republic, the Secretary of State’s office, who is responsible ensuring compliance with lobbyists reporting statues, said that “I have never believed, nor do I now believe, that the law requires two lobbyists to report the same expenditure.”
The simple lesson here is that many, many people have been sullied because of the poor behavior of a few. That, as my edited story indicates, does not justify the continued victimization of easy targets; legislators, lobbyists, etc.. who, for the vast majority, were simply attempting to comply with the law.
Consumers of news should always wonder when reading lengthy pieces such as this, what news is not going reported when the paper gives this spectacle such attention. As Tom Skerritt’s character says at the end of the scene referenced above, “good, now throw it away,” that is where this story should have ended up, in the trash.